Health Goals to Work Towards As a Family This Year
Today, the percentage of children who are overweight or obese is on the rise. Bad food choices, unhealthy habits and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle even from a young age are all contributing to this increase of children packing a few extra pounds. Although many children will eventually grow out of their ‘puppy fat’, those who lead an unhealthy lifestyle from a young age are much less likely to be fit and healthy in adult life. As a parent, keeping your child healthy and giving them the best start in life is one of your biggest responsibilities. Here are some great 2017 goals to improve your whole family’s overall health.
Today, family time is often spent sat in front of the television, playing online games at Ladbrokes, or sharing a takeaway on a Friday night. And, although these treats can definitely be enjoyed in moderation, aiming to spend as much time together as a family engaging in physical activity, such as family bike rides or hikes, swimming together, or even having a game of football or another popular sport. Exercising or playing sport together as a family can be great fun, especially if it gets competitive! Family races, with prizes for the winner, for example, are an awesome way to keep fit!
Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day isn’t difficult, as you could get all five in just one meal if you’re making a sauce for pasta, for example. Although the five portions per day is a handy guideline, for optimum health and energy level, you should aim to ensure that there are at least one or two portions of fruit and vegetables in every family meal, which should be in balance with the other food groups. There are many great easy healthy meal recipes online which you might like to use.
A bad start to the day can put anybody in a bad mood for the next twenty-four hours, leading to more stress and upset throughout the day. Today, more and more children are using technology, with many kids spending the time before bed playing games on their iPad or using a smartphone. Although these can be very educational and great for fun, the blue light behind the screens of our gadgets can keep us awake at night and affect our quality of sleep. Sleep hygiene is practised as part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia and involves putting away all technology for an hour before bed, which allows you to wind down and relax. A no-technology rule an hour before bed for everyone in your home will give you a chance to spend unhindered time together as a family and give everybody a better night’s sleep, every night.
With so many fizzy drinks and sugary juices available for kids today, it’s no surprise that not many children like drinking plain water. But, water is essential for our health, so try and make it the main drink to accompany every meal, allowing fruit juices as a treat – adding sparkling water to sugar-free squash is a much better alternative to sugar-laden soda.
Share your family health goals in the comments below!
Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.